Leadership of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) has reneged on its promise of not opening the shops of foreigners they closed down days ago.
This came up after a meeting with the Accra Police Command on Thursday.
GUTA has now agreed to open hundreds of shops belonging to Nigerians close to the Kwame Nkrumah Interchange.
It also follows President Akufo-Addo’s plea with the Association to allow the relevant institutions to work, in their quest to have the law that bars foreigners from engaging in retail business enforced.
But, First Vice Chairman of GUTA, Patrick Osei Brogyua who confirmed the reopening of the shops on Eyewitness News said, the association is hopeful to abide by the President’s directive by Monday.
“When we met the President, he told us to ensure that the law works but we shouldn’t take the law into our own hands. So, this action was not taken by only the leadership, so whatever the government urged us to do, we needed our members before we can take any decision. And so out of respect for the president, we have decided that once he has promised that he will make the institutions work immediately, it is proper for us to agree and respect him to get the shops opened. We met on Thursday, so we have agreed that we will issue a communiqué so that tentatively on Monday we will open the shops.”
Arrested persons to face court
During the closure, Police ended up arresting some nine persons for allegedly pelting them with stones.
Public Relations Officer of the Accra Region Police Command, DSP Afia Tenge, said the persons arrested during the exercise on Monday will be put before court.
“After the clash, between the feuding factions, some nine persons were arrested to assist with investigations. They remained in police custody and they were granted bail to continue with the investigations. So far the case is under investigation and we are now going to get their individual involvement. They may be arraigned depending on the evidence we get against them. The Regional Command implored the leadership to go and open the shops but they had their own concerns.”
GUTA had earlier vowed to continue closing down shops belonging to foreign traders in demand for the enforcement of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre Act (865)
The Union has on several occasions complained about what it says is the collapse of their businesses due to the invasion of foreigners in the retail sub-sector.
Members of the union say that the government has not fulfilled its promise of ridding the market of such traders despite several appeals.
The Greater Accra chapter of GUTA on Monday for instance locked up several shops at Tip Toe lane belonging to foreigners.
‘Don’t take the law into your own hands’ – Akufo-Addo to GUTA
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo subsequently urged the leadership and membership of GUTA not to take the law into their own hands in dealing with traders from Nigeria and other nationalities engaged in retail trade.
In a meeting with the leadership of GUTA on Tuesday, 3rd December 2019, the President stated that “undoubtedly, the law favours GUTA’s position. But, I will appeal that we live in a country where the rule of law works.”
He continued, “It is the State that interprets how the laws should be applied. People cannot take the law into their own hands and purportedly seek to enforce it. If we tread on that line, Ghana will become ungovernable.”